It's not the game the United States wanted to be in, but today's Gold Cup 3rd place game against Panama is still a chance to make some progress as a group. The indications point to few new faces in the lineup for Jurgen Klinsmann, so regardless of how disappointing it is to be playing today rather than tomorrow it's safe to assume that winning the game and being professional about it has been emphasized.
Still, it's hard to imagine we'll see the best out of a US team that suffered its first home loss to Caribbean opposition in 46 years. It also seems highly unlikely that Panama - seething due to the nature of their elimination against Mexico - is particularly excited about playing given that they were moments away from a shot at an unlikely trophy.
USMNT Projected Starting 11: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
OK, fine, I'll try to guess one like this isn't a hollow 3rd place game. It sounds an awful lot like Klinsmann isn't going to make major changes, so it won't be too hard to guess his team. Brad Guzan will start in goal behind a back four of Timothy Chandler, Ventura Alvarado, John Brooks, and Fabian Johnson. I think we might see a couple of tweaks in midfield, with Mix Diskerud coming in for Kyle Beckerman and DeAndre Yedlin replacing Gyasi Zardes, while Michael Bradley, and Alejandro Bedoya retain their places. Up front, I have a hunch that Clint Dempsey's partner will be Chris Wondolowski.
Brian Straus is reporting that DaMarcus Beasley will come on at halftime, so look for him to replace either Johnson or Chandler (with Johnson shifting over to the right). I think Aron Johansson will sub in for Wondo as well. It seems safe to expect Zardes to get into this game as well.
Match previews: We talked about what is probably Beasley's last appearance a couple of hours ago, while Stars and Stripes FC wonders if today might be Kyle Beckerman's last appearance. USsoccer.com's preview is, as always, jam-packed with stats and factoids.
What are you drinking: Heavy Seas Cross Bones session IPA, which is pretty well-balanced and good for summertime drinking.
Prediction: I think the US comes out the more focused team, while Panama plays angry but isn't quite mentally dialed into the game. Dempsey and Yedlin score on either side of halftime before los Canaleros pull one back. Aron Johansson gets on the board a few minutes later, and the US wins 3-1.
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